Galea leads Robins past Rhinos

Hull KR 38 Leeds 28
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The Independent Online

Hull Kingston Rovers' season took a sharp turn for the better midway through the first half – the Robins took only their third win after Leeds had threatened to overrun them.

"We didn't panic when we went behind and it was a great team effort," said Rovers' man of the match, Ben Galea, after two sides who have great trouble defending convincingly duly served up an open game. After an opening burst from Leeds it was always Hull KR who knew what they were doing.

It had all looked straightforward for Leeds, starting with Kevin Sinfield's wide ball to Lee Smith that enabled him to exchange passes with Kallum Watkins and score. There could have been further tries but for rash passes from Sinfield and Ryan Hall. A second was not long delayed, Sinfield kicking with precision for Watkins.

Rarely can a game have pivoted so violently on one mistake – Keith Senior's short ball to Watkins going down and Michael Vella wrestling his way over. Two minutes later, Rovers were in again. Blake Green was pulled down before the line but Galea's pass allowed Kris Welham to finish the job. Green's half-break then set up Matt Cook and Ben Fisher, and Ben Cockayne sent Scott Murrell through. Murrell followed up with his fourth of five successful kicks.

Leeds' nightmare continued in the second half, with Liam Colbon scoring. The Rhinos hinted at a fightback when Hall scored from Brent Webb's pass, but then quick handling gave Sam Latus the chance to score.

Paul McShane cut the gap to 10 points but Scott Taylor kept the ball alive for Galea to score. Watkins kicked ahead for a glorious if irrelevant solo try.

"There's a lot of pressure to win games but they've put away a very, very good side," said a relieved Rovers coach, Justin Morgan.

Hull Kingston Rovers Cockayne; Latus, Welham, Webster, Colbon; Green, Murrell; Vella, Hodgson, Clinton, Mason, Lovegrove, Galea. Substitutes used: Watts, Taylor, Fisher, Cook.

Leeds Webb; Watkins, Smith, Senior, Hall; Sinfield, Burrow; Kirke, Buderus, Bailey, Jones-Buchanan, Clarkson, Ablett. Substitutes used: Cross, Hauraki, Pitts, McShane.

Referee T Alibert (France).